Several members of the Heritage Defenders met with the majority of the members of the Library Advisory Board at Mayor and Councils request on June 27, 2018 regarding the improper material being streamed to our youth through the homework help tab in search of a solution to the problem. Members of the Library Advisory Board that were present included Gary Oxley, Judy Arnold, Kay Hainer, Don Shelton, and Librarian Sue Lathrop. Councilman Kirk Crespin attended the meeting as well representing the City of Lamar. City Administer John Sutherland did not attend the meeting. Members were each presented with a folder of information regarding the content of what was discovered in the Lamar Library in January regarding the content available on the homework help tab. Due to the sexually explicit nature of the material I will not attach it to this article. However, it did include items such as gay sex, group sex, and other sexually deviant information as well as actively marketing various sex toys through the homework help tab streaming to children as young as elementary school. It was brought to the Boards attention that the current Library Policy Manual included information that was in contradiction to the Colorado State Library Law that protects children. Councilman Kirk Crespin requested that Belinda Groner provide the information to Mayor and Council and it was emailed after the meeting. The statute is clear about the duty of the State to protect Children.
Colorado Statute 24-90-601. Legislative declaration. The general assembly hereby finds and declares that use of the internet in the public libraries of the state provides an extraordinary, unique, and unparalleled educational resource and source of knowledge and information. The general assembly further finds and declares that reasonable measures must be adopted and implemented to protect the children who use such internet services in public libraries from access to material that is harmful to their beneficial development as responsible adults and citizens. It is the intent of the general assembly by enacting this part 6 that public libraries be required to adopt and enforce reasonable policies of internet safety that are consistent with the federal "Children's Internet Protection Act", as amended, (Pub.L. 106-554), and that will protect children from access to harmful material without compromising responsible adult use of internet services in such libraries.
After much research and talking with the Colorado Department of Education programmers, the Colorado Library Consortium, and EBSCO, researcher Belinda Groner discovered that the Colorado Department of Education prepares a template for the library to use and they can attach whatever they want to the homework help tabs. It is totally up to the Librarian and local authorities. Once the electronic media is purchased from EBSCO, it then streams directly to the IP address provided, so EBSCO has direct access to the children with no filtering or checking by the Librarian or staff. This process needs to be reviewed so that direct access to the children without local review is not allowed. In addition, EBSCO currently does not have a way to filter content that should not be streaming to the youth that are age inappropriate. This information was shared with the members of the Library Advisory Board.
The Library Advisory Board is voluntary and advisory only in nature as stated by the members. The Heritage Defenders found the Library Advisory Board to be very interested in the facts and dedicated to their positions. Researcher Belinda Groner provided all members with her phone number and email address if they had any further questions regarding the information provided in their folders as there were interruptions and time constraints on making a full presentation for the members.
Librarian Sue Lathrop advised she had removed a lot of the materials we had requested be removed, however, when she provided the list it was very minimal removal.
Heritage Defenders requested that this material be removed from the Homework Help tab and advise the supplier, EBSCO there services were being discontinued due to their inability to remove sexually graphic material from the homework help tab. Councilmen Kirk Crespin advised he represented a large amount of people and he needed to take that into consideration.
Our research indicated this is a HUGE problem. According to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, it is well proven the long term effects of this pornographic material have proven to be very harmful and even can lead to sexual violence and unusual sexual behavior. The items streaming through the homework help line were very graphic and encourage sexual deviance, sexually demeaning behavior, group sex, oral sex, advertise sex toys, and make this behavior appear to be normal to our youth.
Heritage Defenders was created to do just as the names states-defend our heritage. The most important element in doing that is to instill moral integrity and truth of our country's Godly origin in our children. The cleverly embedded pornography in the EBSCO database in local libraries and schools attacks the souls of our children in an intentional manner. We need your help in being a "voice for the voiceless" as we strive to expose and rid our institutions of this poison. Join us in being true to our Mission.
July 12, 2018 Update
The Heritage Defenders held their meeting on July 12, 2018. Mayor Roger Stagner attended the meeting to provide members with an update on the problems with the Policy Manual in place at the Lamar Library and the internet online provider EBSCO. Mayor Stagner advised City Administrator John Sutherland was in the process of obtaining other library policy manuals and reviewing them. He further advised they were busy trying to see what could be done to filter the inappropriate material streaming to the children through the homework help tab. Mayor Stagner advised he could not find the problem when he did searches for over two hours, however, Belinda Groner advised she had just performed a search and found the inappropriate material in under 5 minutes. Suggestion were made by Barbara Hernandez to have a roundtable meeting with Mayor Stagner, City Administrator John Sutherland and members of our group to work cooperatively to figure out a solution. It was suggested that EBSCO be removed until a solution was found. Mayor Stagner stated that EBSCO was a good supplier of information and he did not want to remove it because he felt the good outweighed the bad. The Heritage Defenders believe that it should be removed and a safe source for homework help be provided for our children.